Pure greed. That's how hard they have been headlines and reactions in Twitter of the videogame sector before the hundreds of layoffs (8% of its staff) announced yesterday by Activision / Blizzard – one of the 10 largest videogame companies in the world and owner of franchises like ' Diablo ',' Overwatch 'or' Call of duty'- at the same time they announced record profits last year with more than 6,200 million euros in turnover.
The announcement of this massive dismissal was made by the CEO of the company, Bobby Kotick, during the presentation of the financial results of the last four-month period and the total of the fiscal year. The dismissals mainly affect workers not related to the creative development of video games. International media leaders in the sector such as Waypoint or Kotaku have pointed to what will be the divisions of esports Y marketing the most affected. EL PAÍS has contacted Activision Blizzard and the company has declined to comment further.
The reactions have happened throughout the day. The hardest, of Waypoint, in a very tough headline written by senior reporter Patrick Kiepek: Activision announces its record profits while fussing over 800 employees. In the text, Kiepek harshly charges against the reasons for such dismissals, understanding them as mere greed of the management team to increase profits: "Activision Blizzard, like most corporations in America, does not have the courage to call this what it is: ruin lives in service of growth and profit maximization so that the ultraric can become megaricos. " The stock market rewarded these Activision ads with a notable rebound in their shares: 4%.
In a more moderate tone, Bloomberg, a world reference in economic journalism, indicated four days before this news that Activision was likely to fire hundreds of workers to maximize their benefit. For more inri, Kotick affirmed that although the results of Activision were the historical record for a company that takes more than a decade in the Top Ten of the game, the company had not reached "its true potential". Despite these layoffs, Kotick announced that there will be "a large investment" in the label's main franchises.
This news comes at a convulsive moment of the video game in the relations between employees and large companies. In November 2018, the launch of the highly anticipated Red dead redemption 2 was overshadowed by the controversy of crunch -To maintain a leonine work schedule as usual practice- to which the employees of their production company, Rockstar, were subjected.
At the same time, movements to try to expand unionization among employees in the world are in full swing. The branch of the Games Worker Unite, the main international association of the sector, started its activity last December in Spain, although industry sources indicate to this newspaper that its contact with other associations of the videogame has been still scarce and its visibility tenuous.